Many people are shifting to natural sources of sugar as they are becoming aware of the harmful effects that table sugar has on our bodies. Dieticians vouch that choosing honey over sugar has many health benefits. Even many stars endorse honey as their sugar substitute.
However, not all honey is created equal and while one variety is extremely nutritious, the other is similar to table sugar and provides no extra benefits.
Honey is extracted from the honeycombs that are made by bees in their hives by regurgitation of flower nectar. The main constituents of honey are monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) along with some minerals, vitamins, polyphenols, enzymes, and pollen.
However, when this collected honey undergoes processing in the form of pasteurization and ultrafiltration, it loses all these added nutrients and what is left is a mix of glucose and fructose only. This is the regular honey sold in local stores and has no benefit to our health.
It is the raw strained honey straight from the farms that should be consumed for getting most of its benefits.
How does honey get its typical color?
The flower source from which the bees collect the nectars gives it the typical color and level of sweetness. Based on this honey can be:
- It is mildly sweet and has more floral essence.
- The 2 flowers that give light color to the honey belong to the Acacia and clover variety.
- Some of the clover-based honey can also give a sour aftertaste.
- It is sweeter, stronger, and has a high content of antioxidants.
- Buckwheat and Manuka flowers are 2 common sources of dark honey.
- This honey also has anti-microbial properties and is used to treat ailments like a cough.
Benefits and ways of adding honey to one’s diet
The benefits of raw honey are well known; with its high antioxidant content and enzymes like glucose oxidase, honey is said to have medicinal properties and is a dressing for ulcers and burn wounds. Manuka honey is the most common form of honey used as a therapeutic dressing.
Apart from this honey has been traditionally used to soothe the throat if you are suffering from a cough. Honey also has anti-cancerous properties because of the antioxidant content which comes from the presence of polyphenols.
You can safely eat 6-9 teaspoons of honey daily based on your gender and basal metabolic rate. If you are trying to lose weight, reduce the amount of added honey as the calories still count even if it is nutritious. If you want added sweetness, use natural fruits instead of processed forms of sugar to curb your sweet cravings.
So, next time you go to the supermarket store to buy honey, do check for its clarity. The clearer the honey, the more it has been filtered. Hence, it has lost its nutritional properties and is not good for purchase. You should also check the labels for any additives.
Even while buying organic honey, do confirm the source of production. Also check, if it has been pasteurized or not. Pasteurization requires heating which kills many active enzymes which give honey its medicinal properties.
If you are in the market for raw honey, it’s always best to do business locally whenever possible so type the words “raw honey near me” into the search box of your favorite search engine. Make sure you check their reviews because there are many unscrupulous vendors on the internet who sell “raw honey” and even if they do show up in local listings, they might buy fake raw honey from overseas, repackage it and sell it to unsuspecting buyers.
Or, if you choose to buy raw honey online, The Mohawk Valley Trading Company’s raw honey has not been heated, filtered, blended, or processed. All of the pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, and aromatics are in the same condition as they were in the hive.